Creating a Garage Living Space: What You Need to Know

Are you looking to add more living space to your home? Do you wish you had a home office, craft room or a playroom for your children? It’s time to consider creating a garage living space. Your garage can be easily converted into a comfortable, yet stylish living space that will complete your home.

garage living space

Garage Living Space Options

Transforming your garage into another room can increase the value of your home and the added space will be beneficial.

Adding a Kitchen or Den

When creating a garage living space, a den or kitchen is a great option for people who host many events at their homes. Glass paneled garage doors allow more natural light in and they’re easy to open, allowing you to easily entertain guests indoors and outdoors.

To avoid feeling stuck inside the kitchen while everyone is outside enjoying the patio, you can use your garage space as a kitchen. If your kitchen is beautiful and you’re looking for extra living space, a den will suit your needs. You can add a plush sectional, some decorative furniture and large sliding doors or windows to allow more light inside.

Building a Home Office

If you’re in need of a quiet place to get some work done, it may be time to turn your garage into a home office. With some extra windows and a wood desk equipped with a comfortable office chair, you’ll be all set.

Painting the walls can add color, allow you to personalize the room and really make it your own. A few works of art or maybe photographs of your children will make the room much more lively. For those who work from home, it’s especially important to make the office a space that you will want to spend a lot of your time.

Creating Your Mancave

A gaming room is a perfect addition to your home if your garage space isn’t being put to use. For the ultimate gamer and sports addict, this could be the perfect escape for an evening or afternoon.

Complete this room with a billiard or poker table, a large flat screen TV and some video gaming systems. It’ll become your after work hangout spot and a bachelor pad on the weekends. Don’t forget to add some comfortable couches and studly leather chairs to really make the room your own.

Transform Your Garage Into a Music Room or Art Studio

Whether you’re about to create the next hit mix tape or record some music, a garage space could easily be converted into your personal recording studio or music room. With some carpeting, sound proofing and decorations, the garage can become the perfect spot to practice your music or record a demo.

An art studio is also a great addition to a home for artists or those who occasionally craft. Studios offer a great spot to escape and create something truly amazing. Garage spaces will allow you to build a room with a lot of natural lighting, especially if you install more windows and replace your garage door with a glass paneled one.

Considerations When Converting Your Garage to a Living Space

Once you’ve decided to create a garage living space, which will improve the value of your home and make it better suited for your lifestyle, there are multiple aspects to think about.

Consider The Purpose and Layout of Your Garage

When creating a garage living space it’s important to decide how you’ll use the extra space. If the garage will be used solely for storage, the amount of renovations necessary are different than if you plan to use it as an additional room.

Determine Electricity Needs

For those who want to use their garage as an extra living space, it’s sometimes necessary to add additional lighting. Most garages are dimly lit and in order to make the space brighter, it’s important to balance both natural and artificial lighting.

Although many homeowners often hope to do the renovations themselves, hiring an electrician is the best option. Electricians are proficient in installing new electrical circuits to make sure that no local building codes will be violated.

If you wish to hang lights from the ceiling, it’s necessary to add another circuit to your breaker panel. Even if you’re hoping to add outlets to plug in electronic devices, such as a television, an electrician will likely need to install another circuit.

Heating and Cooling the Space

When the garage is used as an extra room, homeowners need to heat and cool the space to maintain comfortable living conditions.

If you’re using your garage as a living space, the best option is to install a mini-split heat pump or air conditioner. This method will not require air ducts and is the most energy efficient. These mini-split systems are also able to be turned off when they aren’t being used to save money and energy.

To save costs on garages that are simply used for storage or an occasional hangout spot, window units are another option. These are much less efficient and louder but they will be able to do the job as long as they’re not used frequently.

Obtain a Permit

Many towns require that all homes doing remodeling or renovations of any sort obtain a permit before beginning construction. Even if you’re not rebuilding your home, it’s important to determine whether or not you need a permit.

It’s very likely you’ll need a permit to remodel and create a garage living space. Some municipalities require a permit to simply add another light switch. If you’ve hired a contractor to do work on your home, they will often handle all of the permitting information for you. However, it’s important to make sure you’re on the same page with your contractor and that they’re following the local ordinances.

house blueprints

You may be wondering why you need a permit to simply install a window. In general, permits ensure that the work done on homes is on par with the safety standards and building codes of the area. As part of the permitting process, there are inspections that occur throughout the renovation process.

The electricity, plumbing, insulation and other aspects of your project will be inspected during the renovations to ensure all safety standards are met. To avoid violating local codes it’s often easier to hire a contractor. Otherwise you can contact your village hall to file for a permit and schedule your inspection, which varies depending upon the local laws.

Enhancing Garage Security

Security is essential when turning your garage into a living space. Every garage door should lock. If there’s a back door to enter the garage, it should have a deadbolt lock to prevent burglary. Another security feature that might be worth the investment is extending your home security system to cover the garage too.

Build a Comfortable Living Space

When remodeling your garage into a living space, it’s crucial to spend time making the space aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Installing Flooring

There are many different options when choosing flooring in a garage living space.

For garages that have cracks in the concrete flooring, homeowners should hire either a concrete mason or specialist. Although a concrete mason is more expensive, it’s often necessary for garage floors with more extreme cracks.

installing flooring

Once the concrete is repaired, or if it’s already in good condition, tile flooring is the easiest and most cost effective option. If you plan to carpet or have hardwood flooring installed, it’s much more challenging and typically more expensive. With carpet or wood flooring it’s helpful to hire someone to complete this work.

Adding Windows

Most garages don’t have many windows because they were not originally intended to be used as a living space. In order to create a beautiful space for your home, most garages will need windows installed.

Adding windows will allow more natural sunlight into the garage, especially on a beautiful summer day. Homeowners should know if their windows can be easily broken to gain entry. Plexiglass, which is from acrylic plastic, is meant to be shatterproof as well as resistant to high impact, making it the best option.

Another aspect of a garage living space to contemplate is the level of privacy you want. Larger windows decrease the amount of privacy, however you can maintain your privacy while maximizing the amount of natural light with some draperies or blinds.

Installing Window Inserts on Your Garage Door

Instead of installing additional windows a simpler option is to install a garage door with window inserts or a glass paneled garage door. The window inserts will enhance the design of your garage living space while allowing more natural light into the room.

With a variety of styles and the opportunity to customize your garage door, there are options for everyone to select a door that fits their needs and design preferences.

What to Do with Your Garage Door Space

There are three different options for your current garage door. What you plan to use this additional space for will help you determine whether to keep the garage door or whether you could do without it.

If You Love Your Existing Garage Door

Existing garage doors can really add to the space when they’re aesthetically pleasing. If you hope to use the garage door to decorate the space it’s crucial to make sure it’s properly insulated.

Choosing to keep the garage door is also a fun option if you want a lot of fresh air on a beautiful day. To keep bugs from entering your living space you can add a garage door screen, while still allowing fresh air and sunlight inside.

Replacing Your Garage Door

A replacement garage door can add beauty too, both inside and outside of your new living space. The most cost friendly options are steel and aluminum but there are wood and fiberglass garage doors as well.

The material of your garage door should be selected according to the climate of where you live. For houses in the Midwest, steel doors are the best option because they’re usually foam filled which keeps the garage better insulated. Since they’re insulated, steel garage doors are the most energy efficient option and are durable in more extreme temperatures. 

Alternatives to Maintaining a Garage Door

Another option instead of keeping your existing garage door, or replacing it with a new one, is to add a wall or large windows. Some people choose to install French doors in place of a garage door or a large wall of windows that can be opened to let a breeze in.

Ensuring Your Garage Living Space is Properly Insulated

Insulating your garage living space is the most important part of converting your garage. Not only will it create a comfortable space but it will prevent costly heating and cooling bills.

Insulating Garage Doors

All homeowners should add weatherstripping to the bottom of their garage doors. Weatherstripping is a rubber strip that lines both sides of the garage door and is placed above the garage door as well. You should also add a bottom seal, which is a thin strip of rubber that’s placed at the bottom of the door, to prevent drafts and water from outside.

After adding weatherstripping to your garage door, there are two options to insulate your garage door. There’s foam insulation and polystyrene paneling. The first option is to purchase foam filled steel garage doors to ensure your garage door is properly insulated.

However polystyrene paneling may be a better option because it’s placed in the cracks and it has a very high R-value. A high R-value, signifies the paneling has very strong insulating abilities, making polystyrene insulation for garage doors an excellent choice.

Insulating Floors

One way to insulate your concrete floor is to place a heating unit down and add an additional concrete slab on top of the existing one.

The first step to insulating your floor if you do not want a concrete floor is to frame the floor with wood. After framing the floor, install polystyrene insulation. If you intend to have a tile floor, you can place that down after the insulation and a plywood covering.

Insulating Walls

There are two options for insulating your walls. These include batt and spray foam insulation. Batt insulation is made out of fiberglass and is fairly cheap to install. The insulation is placed between the studs and then you need to put a layer of drywall on top. This form of insulation can be done by yourself but may be worth spending a little extra to have a contractor complete the work.

Spray foam insulation is another option, that is put in place by spraying foam against the wall of your garage. After putting the spray foam in, a layer of drywall needs to be installed on top of the foam insulation. However, this method is more complex and hiring a professional will likely be worth the extra cost so that it’s done correctly.

blowing insulation

Get Started on Converting Your Garage into a Living Space

Garages are a part of your home and should be used in a way that best suits your lifestyle. Once you decide to transform your garage into a spare bedroom, an office or a den, there are many different aspects that need to be acknowledged.

After figuring out what gas and electric needs your newly renovated room has, homeowners should consider whether they want to hire a contractor or not. Hiring a contractor adds additional costs to any remodeling project. It may be beneficial if you have not done remodeling work before to ensure the resulting space is everything you hoped for.

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